Another Friday night in Small Town South of the Mason Dixon...  The carillon at the local college is pounding out "The Lords Prayer". I am sure it is audible from wherever you happen to be in the village. These people exist in a universe where it does not occur that not everyone wants to listen to church music on a Friday night. How to even begin the conversation with city government to make this kind of auditory domination a thing of the past?

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Well, i guess choosing to not attend church won't do the trick. They'll get to you with a loudspeaker. I can imagine the frustration you must feel. Hopefully, the right person will get involved and shut that mess down. 

Any ruction you raise will likely offend many in the community.

That said, it depends on who owns the carillon and the college.

If the college is private, there is not much you can do other than complain about noise. Good luck with that.

If the college or carillon are publicly (government) owned, you can do the following:

a) Approach the college by letter noting that playing religious music is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the I Amendment. You will need to give your name and address, and a contact telephone number to show you actually have standing in the community to bring such a complaint.

If that fails, you can try a number of other options:

b) Write an editorial letter to the local paper.
c) Contact a legal rights organisation, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Secular Coalition for America, &c for them to help with action on the issue. This could also be your first step, if your objective is simply to gain additional information on how to object effectively.
d) Sue.

Note that all of these methods will out you as a "militant atheist" in your community, and will likely not make you many friends. The religious often view freedom of religion as religious privilege. They do not understand (nor care to) that government is not permitted to play favourites with religion.

The argument "it's traditional" will come up, but tradition is not protected by the Constitution (which they also do not understand). Traditionally, women couldn't vote, blacks were held as slaves, natives were not considered people. All these and many more traditional views have been held as unconstitutional.

The problem with the Religious Reich is that they are all for courts and constitution when they support their views, and opposed to them when they do not.

Outing yourself as an atheist in a public campaign against a traditional Christian exercise of privilege can be dangerous, as noted in Jessica Ahlquist's campaign to remove a prayer banner from her school in Rhode Island. She was vilified by her neighbours and the press, a state representative in a press conference called her "an evil little thing," &c.

It ultimately depends on whether standing up for what's right under the law is worth the risks you'll take by doing so.

You might try the noise complaints, but you could find that your town's noise law is specifically written to exclude the college.  That's how it is in my town.  Check online.  I bet you can find a copy of the city statutes.

I once called in a complaint to the city, and they flatly told me that what I was complaining about wasn't illegal and they couldn't do anything.  I looked up the city codes online, and called them back with the exact reference to the code that was being violated, and within 30 minutes my problem went away.




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